Monday, June 11, 2007

Innovation - A Social Response

So, for a few months we have been trying to get some ideas and information across. With the blogs on Ogua and Busy trying to get people started i realized that what this country needs is innovation. The problems we face as a nation in terms of growth are not ones we can solve with existing solutions like some sort of template we apply.

The PSI was a good idea but...... There have been others who are trying to bring something new into the system and it's not been easy. Might talk about some of these new but struggling ideas later.

Now to bizness, Innovation as i came to realize is the successful exploitation of new ideas, therefore one to solve social issues will be social innovation : innovation in response to social needs or challenges, typically diffused by organisations whose primary objectives are social rather than economic, and where ‘profit’ is re-invested. got this from Nesta.

A little change to the definition will best best fit our country. We don't really need to be creating new ideas. At least for the past decade all things techy are still new ideas to the country except fancy mobile phones. So there's no need re-inventing the wheel. We are a lucky country in that we are trying to develop at a time when information is around. Gone are the days when development ment bringing forth new brilliant and yet sustainable ideas in the field of economics, technology, agriculture etc.

Can we look at our past and pin point ideas that were innovative, most of them were implementations of ideas tried and tested. Africa and for that matter Ghana are quite unique. We need not a American speaker flying all the way here to organize seminars only to tell us how to apply the internet and ICT to attain our 2020 dream. A country that does not enjoy broadband and hotspots with everyone loging on and out might need a different approach towards applying the internet. This we have to find out for ourselves.

Enough talk, so what are our basic needs, according to Maslow , food, shelter, security are prime. And looking at these carefully which do we have. Ghana as a nation cannot feed herself yet we are pressing on farmers to export(IN: dolls And Pounds) and then we rely on business men to import foods again (OUT: dolls and Pounds). An innovation was growing rice and selling on our own markets, but hey what happened. Funny enough even the rural folks preferred 'Perfumed' rice. What prevented us from investing a little to upgrade our rice. Untill we match international qualities, which is what the people have been made to prefer we'll always loose out.

It's not enough labling it 'Made In Ghana', which one of us ever saw a local rice advert on TV. On the other hand the local gins and bitters are doing well alongside the cream products. These folks are obviously exploiting an idea but is it new? Nope, the idea of aphrodisiacs and skin beauty have been before i was born (2.5 decades)

So are we being innovative enough, if anyone knew how mobile phones used to be a luxury they'll understand what i'm driving at. The people needed to communicate and someone provided it. It didn't take long and it was the new definition of ICT.

This post is a calling, a calling to help move the nation by breading innovative ideas. I'll identify ideas i find innovative and post them. It's our social responsibility.